Even in the time of social media boom, email is the most preferred communication channel for businesses. The number of email users in 2022 is 4.26 billion and is predicted to grow to 4.73 billion users by 2026.

This shows the rising popularity of email as a communication medium. In fact, 81% of B2B marketers have said that email newsletters are the most used and effective form of content marketing.

Another stat shows that email marketing generates $36 in ROI for every dollar spent. Thai proves the effectiveness of email marketing.
Before you move on to launch an email campaign, you need a highly targeted email lead list. In this blog post, let’s learn how to build an email marketing database to scale your business.

Benefits of Email Marketing for Your Business

Businesses can not only expand their network but email marketing is also a great way to retain new customers. Here are some reasons why your business should employ a solid email marketing strategy:

1.   High Conversion Rates

As we’ve discussed before, email marketing yields a whooping $36 for every $1 spent. When launching sales or promotions, email marketing becomes an effective strategy to expand customer reach and drive sales. For instance, you can send special offers or discounts to potential clients. Through automated emailing software, you can send welcome emails, birthday greetings, re-engagement emails, and abandoned cart reminders, boosting customer engagement and sales performance.

2.   Enhance Brand Awareness

Email marketing directly connects businesses with qualified leads, keeping their brand consistently visible. Unlike a social media post, personalized and targeted emails have a more significant impact on audiences.

3.   Foster Customer Loyalty

Sending just one email per week can establish strong connections with customers. From nurturing leads to facilitating conversions and crafting and delivering personalized emails with tailored content, emails play a pivotal role in driving customer loyalty.

Qualities of an Email Marketing Database Building Best Practices

Before you create an email marketing database (email list), let’s go through the best practices you should follow for creating a high-quality lead list and maintain it:

1. Permission-Based Approach

First and foremost, prioritize building your email list with individuals who have willingly granted explicit permission to receive messages from you. Avoid purchasing email lists, as they often lead to unwanted spam and pose the risk of getting your IP blacklisted. This simple practice helps you stay in compliance with the marketing guidelines and develops a positive brand reputation.

2. Precise and Up-to-Date Information

Maintain email addresses that are accurate and current. For example, your prospect from a certain company may not be working there anymore and you should remove their contact. Cleanse your list regularly by removing invalid or bounced email addresses. Verifying email addresses before sending your email campaigns ensures consistent deliverability and higher engagement rates

3. Relevance to Your Audience

Subscribers should be genuinely interested in your offerings, products, services, or content. Your email marketing efforts will see positive results only when your subscribers align with your target audience, ICP, and buyer personas; enhancing the likelihood of active engagement with the emails you distribute.

4. Engaged User Base

The most effective email lists consist of subscribers actively interacting with your brand – consistently opening, clicking, and responding to your communications. These subscribers are more prone to conversion, content sharing, and providing sustained value over time.

5. Effortless Segmentation

Audience segmentation is an essential part of keeping your email database healthy and up-to-date. This segmentation/categorization can be based on demographic data, interests, past interactions with the company, purchase history, engagement levels, or other relevant criteria. This empowers you to send personalized emails that deeply resonate with distinct segments of your audience.

For example, some recipients might want to receive educational content from you, some might just opt for messages with offers and discounts. So, segmenting your audience database based on their interest helps you create targeted and relevant outreach.

6. Gradual Growth

Your email list should expand with time. Explore strategies to attract new subscribers, such as leveraging lead magnets, strategic social media promotions, or collaborative ventures with other businesses/influencers.

7. User-Friendly Unsubscription Process

While it might seem counterintuitive, enabling an easy opt-out process for email recipients is an excellent business practice. No one desires a nonconsensual and frustrating experience when attempting to unsubscribe from an email list. Make sure the unsubscribe button or link is easily accessible and effortlessly visible.

Remember, businesses operating in the US have to comply with the CAN-SPAM act, which ensures that organizations have to take consent for sending marketing emails. Besides, giving the option to opt-out helps you clean your email list by eliminating non-relevant subscribers.

Unsubscribe email example

Moreover, you can fine-tune your email marketing strategies to enhance your list’s quality over time.

Why Should You Never Buy an Email Database?

Creating an email list from scratch is a long and tedious process, especially if your organization is selling a niche product. This apparent difficulty in creating email lists can tempt you to buy readymade email lists from third-party sellers.

Although many companies do it, buying an email list is not a reliable email marketing practice. In fact, in some regions in the world, it is against the law to buy or sell digital information.

For example, Europe’s GDPR act (General Data Protection Regulation) restrains you from buying email lists. Besides, using third-party email lists can negatively impact your brand.

Usually, a third-party email list majorly consists of fake or irrelevant email addresses. And compared to organically sourced email addresses, purchased email addresses have a low deliverability rate.

Moreover, nobody likes unsolicited emails. Even if your emails get opened, there are high chances that recipients will not find them useful and eventually mark them as spam, which will reduce your IP reputation. ESPs (Email Service Providers) like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc., monitor suspicious activities by online businesses. If you are using a purchased email list to send emails, there’s a high chance of your domain getting banned for lifetime.

Tips to Build a High-Quality Email Marketing Database

Now that you know why you should never buy an email list from a third-party lead scraper, it’s time you explore how to build a high-quality email list organically. Here are five tips to help you get started:

1. Leverage Social Media

Leveraging social media platforms, you can easily create a targeted email marketing database. You can opt for the direct approach by creating engaging social media posts asking your audience to opt in and adding a link to a landing page on your website where they can do that.

The other approach is by adding value-proposition for your audience, for example, a case study or a success story.

You can grow your organic email marketing database through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), and especially LinkedIn. Besides, you can also run social media ad campaigns to generate leads faster. Here are a few tips to do it effectively:

  • Target specific demographic that suits your Ideal Customer Profile. Leverage data like age, gender, location, industry, etc.
  • Incorporate branded targeting – add your branding (logo, tagline, color palette) and website URL to the landing page.
  • Set a specific budget aside and run Facebook ads based on it. You can go for a pay per click (PPC) model.

Facebook Lead Ads and LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms streamline email address collection by simplifying the process. For instance, a fitness coaching service can offer a free consultation through Facebook Lead Ads, while a digital marketing agency can use LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms for an e-book on B2B lead generation. Users click on call-to-action buttons, and their information is auto-populated, with submissions going to your database. Following up with nurturing emails can convert these leads into customers.

Running social media ads may seem like an expensive affair, but the revenue generation through the marketing database you create will be worth the expenditure.

LinkedIn lead generation app example


LinkedIn lead generation ad example 2


2. Deploy Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are incentives offered to website visitors in exchange for their contact information. You can deploy lead magnets to generate email addresses of your prospective customers and build your email list.

Ebooks: Offer in-depth guides or reports related to your industry.

Checklists: Provide a handy list of steps or tips.

Templates: Offer templates that save time and effort.

Webinars: Host informative webinars and collect registrations.

Discounts: Give exclusive discounts or access to promotions.

Ensure that your lead magnet is valuable and relevant to your target audience. Promote it on your website, social media, and other marketing channels to attract potential leads.

Lead magnet example


3. Create Landing Pages

Your prospects don’t have time to go through the entire website, understand your product/service and then subscribe to your mailing list. Honestly, if you redirect your prospects to your homepage, the chances are they will leave without subscribing.

Instead, create interesting landing pages and directly link back to it. A landing page is a web page where a person lands after clicking on an ad or a link. Quite contrary to the website homepage, landing pages talk about specific pain
points and their solutions with a strong CTA to influence the audience to take specific action.

Landing page example


As you are looking to expand your subscribers’ list, the CTA would be about subscribing to your list. Here are the things you must have on your landing page:

  • An attractive headline
  • Enticing visuals
  • A strong and clear CTA
  • Social proof
  • Customer testimonials
  • Existing offers

Take a look at another landing page:

Smartlead landing page example

4. Use Partner Sites to Run Promotion (Co-Marketing Approach)

Businesses, especially new ones thrive on partnerships and co-marketing opportunities. You can leverage your connections to reach an ever widening audience base for your business and build targeted email lists.

According to HubSpot, co-marketing is a collaborative marketing effort where two or more similar businesses align their marketing strategies and all of the businesses reap the benefit. You can, in collaboration with other businesses, run promotional campaigns by offering shared offers to generate hot leads.

You can even offer giveaways – mention a product that your partner website traffic can benefit from and offer special discounts if they subscribe to your email list. This way you can acquire email addresses of potential customers and your partner business generates more hot leads – a win-win for both businesses.

However, you must offer something that caters to the target audience. For example, if your partner business is an email scraping tool, you can place your cold emailing tool as an offer. This way, you can ensure only credible contacts that are actually interested in your offerings and fit perfectly with your ideal customer profile.

Here are a few methods of generating email addresses through co-marketing approach:

  • Co-Branded Webinars or Workshops: Collaborate with partner sites to host co-branded webinars, workshops, or online events where participants will be required to provide their email addresses to register for these events.
  • Guest Blogging and Content Marketing: Write guest blog posts or create content for partner websites in exchange for a byline and a link back to your website. Ensure that you include a call-to-action (CTA) encouraging readers to subscribe to your email list for more valuable content.
  • Joint Contests or Giveaways: Organize joint contests or giveaways with your partner sites. Participants can enter the contest by submitting their email addresses. Make sure the prizes are relevant to your target audience to attract quality leads.
  • Affiliate Marketing Programs: Implement an affiliate marketing program with partner websites. Affiliates can promote your products or services to their audience and earn a commission for each lead or sale generated through their unique tracking links.
  • Email List Swaps or Cross-Promotions: Partner with complementary businesses in your industry to cross-promote each other’s email lists. Share valuable content or offers with each other’s audiences, encouraging them to subscribe to your respective email lists.
  • Sponsored Email Campaigns: Collaborate with partner sites to include your opt-in form or a special offer in their email newsletters. Make sure the content aligns with their audience’s interests and provides value.
  • Social Media Collaborations: Work with partner sites on joint social media campaigns or takeovers to drive traffic to a landing page where visitors can subscribe to your email list.
  • Referral Programs: Create a referral program where your existing subscribers can refer friends and colleagues to join your email list. Incentivize both the referrer and the new subscriber with discounts or exclusive content.
  • Data Sharing Agreements: In compliance with privacy laws like GDPR or CAN-SPAM Act, establish data sharing agreements with partner sites where both parties can exchange non-sensitive customer data, such as email addresses.
  • Exclusive Partner Offers: Offer partner-exclusive discounts or promotions to their audience in exchange for email sign-ups. This can entice potential customers to join your email list to access special deals.

A Quick Reminder: Make sure you are adding links to specific landing pages, not your website homepage.

Co marketing is a logical solution to expand your audience base. Before you collaborate with a partner brand, make sure you ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we have a similar audience base?
  • What is the organic reach of the partner website?
  • How many email addresses do I expect to achieve from this campaign?

5. Employ Traditional Techniques

Although social media platforms, cold emailing, and co-marketing are the best way to generate email addresses of your potential customers, you can deploy traditional lead generation methods to expand your email list.

These methods are more effective for comparatively traditional B2B industries. For example, you can attend offline industry events such as conferences, seminars, trade shows, conventions, etc., and network with relevant people to collect their email address.

At live events, you can even offer a demo in exchange for contact details. Or you can maybe offer industry insights, speak on new changes in the industry to attract relevant potential customers.

Live events are great avenues for reaching out to prospects and having one-on-one conversations. This makes it a better opportunity to collect email addresses of interested potential buyers who are more likely to subscribe and later convert into paying customers.

Event example

Source: Facebook

6. Creating Compelling Content

Content marketing is and will remain one of the most powerful lead generation methods. By consistently producing high-quality and relevant content, you can attract and engage your target audience. Content can take various forms, including blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, and more. Ensure your content addresses the pain points and interests of your ideal customers to maximize its effectiveness. Don’t forget to include clear calls to action (CTAs) within your content to guide visitors toward taking the next step, such as subscribing to your newsletter or downloading a valuable resource.

7. Add Sign-Up Forms on the Website

To build an email list for your database, strategically place signup forms on your website. Optimal locations include the top of the sidebar, header or navigation bar, pop-ups (used sparingly), within blog content, and in the footer.

These forms should be noticeable but not intrusive to the user experience. Customize them to match your brand. Regularly test and optimize form placements and designs. By making it easy for visitors to subscribe and offering value, you can effectively convert website traffic into email subscribers.

Once your prospects start a free trial session in your software or create an account for the first time, you can ask for their permission to send them marketing emails and follow ups.

You can

Sign up form example



Building an email marketing contact database is directly related to the revenue your company generates. Be it B2B or B2C, you can’t possibly build connections, move prospects through the sales cycle, and scale your business without a good email marketing strategy.

Use the above-mentioned tips to build a healthy email marketing contact list. And remember to not buy third-party email databases. Leverage social media outreach, email marketing, paid ad campaigns, co-marketing efforts, and landing pages to generate organic traffic to your site.

Building an organic email marketing list takes time, effort, and a solid strategy. Once you collect substantial email accounts to run your email campaigns, use a cold emailing software or an email marketing tool to send bulk emails to your subscribers.


Vaibhav Namburi headshot

Vaibhav Namburi

Vaibhav is the founder of smartlead.ai and smartwriter.ai, which are cold outreach and personalization platforms used by Stripe, GaryVee, Meta, and 16,000 other businesses utilizing SEO. Before this, he worked in an AI business analytics business and had bootstrapped his software consultancy, which funded 55 startups. He posts actively about SEO and growth marketing.